The holidays are upon us, and for many, there is no better time of year. However, for the 4.2 million youth who are homeless in the United States each year, the holidays are unlikely to be filled with joy and presents.
At the National Runaway Safeline, we work to keep America’s runaway, homeless and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. We do this largely through crisis intervention services, such as our hotline and online services, all of which are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
So, when a 15-year-old boy calls our toll-free number, 1-800-786-2929, seeking shelter, an NRS volunteer or staff member listens and provides confidential, nondirective and nonjudgmental support, and together they devise an action plan to ensure the teen’s safety and well-being.
Or when a 19-year-old girl sends a chat message via 1800runaway.org explaining she is far from home and wants to be reconnected with family, but is penniless, we help by assessing the situation, contacting her parent or guardian, and possibly sending her home safely through the Home Free program offered in partnership with Greyhound Lines.
Children deserve a safe, nurturing home during the holidays, and always. Happily, NRS makes more than 100,000 connections to help each year. We partner with about 8,000 agencies nationwide that provide direct services to youth in crisis.
Youth homelessness is a serious issue, but it one that we can solve together.
For more information, visit 1800runaway.org.
Executive director, National Runaway Safeline